Filed under: Interviews, Scene Around Town, XCLUS!VES | Tags: concert coverage, concert photos, concert review, Dr. Dog, Haiti, photos, the growlers, the silent league, Video, Westcott
A night of psychedelic indie rock drenched the Westcott last night with space-y chamber pop from The Silent League, floral blues-punk with a Southern drawl from The Growlers and straightforward, hook-heavy hard rock from Dr. Dog. Idiosyncrasy and quirk came to mind throughout the show, whether the crowd was dancing to the groove-based rhythm from The Growlers, peering into the massive sunglasses of Dr. Dog’s guitarist or watching The Silent League members play multiple instruments at the same time.
Dr. Dog, the headlining act, played the simplest and tightest show, entertaining the crowd consistently and impressing the audience with nary a pause in between songs except to joke about their day off the next day. “What is there to do in this town? You guys got a zoo or something?” bassist Toby Leaman joked before commenting on the weather. The band interspersed their set with newer songs — likely to appear on their upcoming album Shame, Shame (due out April 6, 2010) — and fan favorites.
However, while Dr. Dog appealed to the audience gathered, judging from last night’s show, expectations for their latest record have little reason to stay high. Though they’ve always been a band to eschew full-blown experimental psychedelia, Dr. Dog’s failed to play any newer songs last night that sounded much different from their career standards. Despite their performance’s energy — and between the lead guitarist Scott McMicken’s dancing around stage with a set of bells and Leaman’s preaching-to-the-crowd-using-his-hands style of singing there was a lot of it! — it did not hint at new territories for the band.
The Growlers, complete with fur hats and multicolored flowers adorning the stage and instruments, exemplified idiosyncrasy for its own sake last night. Between their sardonic Southern accents and throwaway comments in-between songs like encouragements to singles in the crowd to hook up, not to mention references to partaking of illicit substances, it was difficult to take The Growlers seriously. In all likelihood they might not want to be. Calling each other “rocker dudes” and making “Who Let the Dogs Out” jokes about the following band almost got in the way of their folksy, grooving ‘shroom rock. The swaying crowd didn’t seem to mind until halfway through their set, though.
The Silent League, while not the most riveting band of the night — they opened and most crowd members were there for Dr. Dog — still put on the most diverse performance. For the most part The Silent League used their time well and played straight through their set without much banter. Their electronic manipulations, handled by four of the six bandmates, all of which played different instruments as well throughout, accentuated each song and left the crowd not knowing what to do except clap. 20 watts was lucky enough to sit down with them for an interview. Read that here (coming soon!).
Last night was an exciting night for psychedelia, and all of the bands performed well, despite any extra-musical inclinations that may have delayed or distracted from the music itself. But performance is about looks as well, whether you’re wearing over-sized, solar-eclipse sunglasses or a fur hat larger than your head. Either way, each band entertained the crowd, even if one of them did hold up the charade that they were from Texas just to get jokes out of it.
Tonight the Westcott Theater hosts a Haiti Benefit series of multiple artists!
— Story by Eric Vilas-Boas
— Photos by Isabel Alcantara